Saturday, September 15, 2007

On Writing

I am enrolled in a self-paced online creative writing class. The first lesson is on poetry and I have been stuck on it for months. This weekend, I am determined to finish all of my assignments and move onto the second lesson. Dorothy Allison helped me. I read a few more of her essays in Skin before working on my own writing. Here are some of the words that inspired me to move from page turning book reading to Microsoft word:

Maybe not for anyone else, but for me, the kind of person that I am, writing meant an attempt to sneak up on truth, to figure it out slowly through the characters on page. If writing was dangerous, lying was deadly, and only through writing things out would I discover where my real fears were, my layered network of careful lies and secrets (p. 90.)

Writing is still revolutionary, writing is still about changing the world. Each of my students who tells the truth about their life becomes part of the process, and every piece they share with me that challenges my own self-exploration pushes me to deeper work. Sex and lies, I believe, are the core of it. You may not be happy as writers, I tell them, echoing Bertha Harris, but you will know who you are and you will change the world.
Exactly (p. 91.)

2 comments:

Myrthe said...

I followed the link to the book. Sounds like a very interesting book. Do you plan to write more about the book on your blog? I'd be interested to read your opinion.

I respect you for tackling poetry. :-) I love books, reading, writing, words, but I've never really got into poetry (neither reading nor writing). I guess it just doesn't work for me. Or I just haven't found the poet(s) that strike(s) a cord with me.

margaret said...

Myrthe,
Sometimes I just like to pick passages that I like and react to them. But I am happy to tell you a little more about Dorothy Allison. She is a lesbian and in this book sex comes up alot. I am not quoting these parts because while I am appreciating her perspective, I much prefer reading her comments about class and writing.